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The 10 Best Countries to Visit for Gluten Free

A few weeks ago we asked on Facebook where were the best countries people had visited when it came to gluten free eating, we had hundreds of comments and we went through and tallied the votes! In this blog we have the 10 most mentioned, some I found quite surprising the top ones. So where exactly are the easiest, most understanding places to eat? Lets find out.

The 10 Best Countries to Visit for Gluten Free
You may get quite anxious about going on holiday when you have Coeliac. That is quite understandable, not knowing how places can cater, never mind the possible language barriers is a daunting thought.

Here at Coeliac Sanctuary we do have travel cards in 50 languages to help you out, so wherever you go we have you covered with that language issue. However it is a big world and some countries are better than others, so where to go first? Pop a travel card in your bag to so you always have backup in case you get someone who doesn't quite understand.

We asked on our Facebook page for fellow Coeliacs to tell us where the best country was that they had been when it came to gluten free, and we completed the very tedious task of tallying all the results to bring you the 10 countries that were mentioned the most. The top 2 outweighed all the others considerably. The country in second place had 5x the mentions of the one in third and the top stop had almost double that!

So lets see where we should go to on our holibobs this year!

10. Cyprus
Cyrpus is a Greek speaking country (or variation of Greek, Cypriot) and while some people have said they found it hard to find gluten free others LOVE IT. If you go with typical Greek style food you shouldn't go too wrong.

Cyrpus does have a completely gluten free bakery too, Areteos Bakery, where you can get loads of traditional Greek baked goodies.

Take a look at GlutenFreeCy for lots of places to eat including some gorgeous places in Paphos and find hotels that cater too.

9. Finland
In Finland it should be possible to find gluten free options in all restaurants and coffee shops.

Some allergy websites have called it "the headquarters for celiac disease". Coeliac seems to be very common here and everyone knows someone who has Coeliac, gluten free and contamination knowledge in the country is very high. It is also apparently ahead in research when it comes to Coeliac.

Helsinki has a gluten free bakery in Keliapuot which sells gluten free Karelian Pies, a Finnish favourite usually made with rye flour (which isn't gluten free).

Check out The Sightseeing Coeliacs blog post for more places in Helsinki to visit

8. Portugal
A bit like the UK supermarkets clearly label gluten free products and it is fairly easy to eat out too.

Piri piri chicken is a common Portuguese dish and there are plenty of places to get this, a lot of other traditional dishes are gluten free too such as bean stew, Feijoada and Portuguese rice pudding, arroz doce.

In Lisbon there are places to get the Portuguese classic pasteid de nata, a type of custard tart plus there are plenty of restaurants that cater to coeliac. Take a look at Legal Nomads gluten free Portugal blog for a bit more info on places.

7. Turkey
While there are plenty of things to eat gluten free in Turkey it is definitely worth while having a travel card as a few people did say there some definitely some language barriers when it came to contamination issues. There is lots of bread involved in many places too, so best to be safe!

Hummus is a classic in turkey and is naturally gluten free so always a good option to go for. Rice and potatoes are of course gluten free too are are particular stapes in Turkey. Watch out for orzo with is very common over there and is ridiculously hard to get gluten free so always be cautious if they say they can do orzo gluten free.

Good options on menus in turkey are shish kebabs and grilled meats/fish. Menus can be restricted but there are options around. Istanbul does have a couple of gluten free restaurants too, take a look at Daily Sabah for more tips.

6. Ireland
So close to the UK but caters different for Coeliac and have their own Coeliac Society too, it is worth checking their website out

Most restaurants can cater easily to Coeliac and there is some gluten free bakeries floating around including Denises Gluten Free Bakery and RiceFlour Gluten Free bakery in Cork

Check out Gluten Free Ireland for more info on eating in Ireland

5. New Zealand
New Zealand work different when it comes to gluten free. In the UK gluten free is food with less than 20ppm of gluten detected in testing, In New Zealand and Australia gluten free means zero gluten detected in testing. Over there eating oats even "gluten free oats" is not advised unlike in the UK where gluten free oats can be consumed if you can tolerate them, also nothing that may have been malted is acceptable (whereas some levels of barley malt is deemed acceptable in the UK)

A bit like Finland, New Zealand have a fair amount of Coeliacs which makes gluten free more common and knowledge even more wide spread.

There are dedicated gluten free bakeries around, and even Chinese restaurants that cater well. Ice cream parlours not only have cones but also toppings that are safe too. Check out Gluten Free Livings New Zealand guide for loads of places to try.

4. Australia
Australia works the same as New Zealand with their strict procedures and again the knowledge is outstanding, both countries work to the same laws regarding gluten free.

There are multiple 100% gluten free restaurants and bakeries in Sydney and even more restaurants that cater well. Check out Happy Celiacs Sydney guide for more places.

Of course its not only Sydney that has gluten free places there are plenty of places to try all over the country.

3. USA
USA work kind of similar to the UK but there are generally gluten free options all around.

McDonalds is out though, unlike the UK even their fries aren't gluten free, however there are burgers and pizzas galore to try.

For ideas in New York take a look at My GF Guide's blog, with no less than 18 100% gluten free places, and thats just in New York!

Las Vegas, Seattle and Florida to name a few have multiple gluten free bakeries and restaurants as well as lots of places that can cater well. Ever Disneyland Florida caters well to Coeliac, much better than Paris from what I hear!

2. Spain
One of the gluten free capitals! Everywhere you look you can find gluten free.

From dedicated bakeries to even being able to get a gluten free big mac from McDonalds complete with bun, there isn't many places you can't get gluten free in Spain.

Supermarkets have huge varieties too, stocking popular brand Schar (amongst others), you will even find elusive lady fingers, crackers and other products you just don't see in the UK.

Generally a lot of the classic Spanish dishes are gluten free as standard from paella to patatas bravas so you shouldn't have a probably finding dishes in restaurants.

In Barcelona there are fully gluten free bakeries, restaurant and ice cream parlours, Seville has a 100% gluten free bar and Italian plus other places. There is just loads of options to choose from. Check Legal Nomands Spain blog for some ideas of places to eat

1. Italy
The gluten free capital. Like Spain everywhere you go there is gluten free! There are very few places that can't cater, loads of 100% gluten free places and they generally just get it, knowledge of Coeliac is very high too, with a better understanding of coeliac in general than most other places.

My lovely friend Sophie took a trip around Italy and wrote a blog where you can find some gorgeous places to eat at in a few different places around Italy, she never had issues eating anywhere

Also check out My GF Guide to Italy too for 100s of places to eat at. In Rome alone there is at least 13 100% gluten free places as well as loads that have gluten free options.

The majority of places will offer gluten free pizza and pasta and the supermarkets like Spain stock ridiculous amounts of gluten free products.

Other places were mentioned too were Mexico, Canada, Poland and Dubai all being close right behind Cyprus, with Sweden, Goa, Malta, Iceland, Egypt and Norway all getting the odd mention too. Where have you eaten abroad that catered really well? Anywhere different? Let us know!

There are gluten free travel cards available for all the countries mentioned in this blog, from Italy to even Malta and Iceland - check them out in our shop.

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